Career Paths in Landscape Architecture

300 Ivy – 2015 Residential Design Honor Award Winner image: Bruce Damonte
300 Ivy – 2015 Residential Design Honor Award Winner
image: Bruce Damonte

Each year, members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) are surveyed on a different theme. In 2013, the focus was favorite spaces, and the results of that survey have been highlighted here on The Field. Now, we are moving on to the 2014 survey—the theme: career paths in landscape architecture. As you can imagine, the responses were as varied as the different trajectories taken by all those in the landscape architecture field, and included many insightful comments and suggestions. Synopses of the survey results were originally shared in LAND, and we are now re-posting this information on The Field. For  updates on the results of the latest PPN survey, see LAND‘s PPN News section.

We received an impressive number of responses (395) to the 2014 survey from a diverse range of individuals in terms of sector, region of work, and level of experience:

  • Every PPN is represented, and Sustainable Design and Development—the largest PPN—had the most respondents.
  • The East, South, and Midwest are all equally represented, but the West had the most respondents.
  • 7% of respondents practice internationally.
  • 70% work in private practice.
  • 50% have 20+ years of experience.
  • 56% work in firms, agencies, or organizations of 25 or fewer employees.

Below are a few highlights from the results, which will be explored in greater depth in upcoming posts.

What was your favorite subject in school?

Art was the most popular answer, selected by one-third of respondents. Science came in second.

What one characteristic or skill is most essential for success in landscape architecture?

Popular responses included:

  • communication
  • adaptability
  • attention to detail
  • creativity
  • passion
  • patience
  • problem solving
  • visualization.

Which sector do you find most rewarding to work within?

Nearly half of respondents selected the public sector, but the private sector was not far behind, with 42 percent.

How do you like to work?

Some 60 percent of respondents prefer sketching ideas out by hand rather than working on a computer.

What one word would you use to describe landscape architecture or a landscape architect?

Popular responses included:

  • awesome
  • creative
  • diverse
  • essential
  • holistic
  • multifaceted
  • steward
  • synthesizer
  • versatile
  • visionary.

In future features, we’ll continue to pull out unique responses, summarize trends, and highlight the most popular answers. By drawing attention to the many paths that might be taken within the broad field of landscape architecture, we hope to spark discussion among readers about their own experiences and the insights they’ve gleaned over the course of their careers.

3 thoughts on “Career Paths in Landscape Architecture

  1. Lauren Marshall May 11, 2016 / 11:41 am

    For what it is worth, one major realm of expansion I see for ASLA is in highlighting the diverse job opportunities available to Landscape Architects. The ASLA Conference, and many of the materials highlighted and sent out, tend to minimize or ignore public practice as a legitimate option for young LAs, instead focusing on practice with a firm. I would love to see sessions at the conference and blog posts that highlight “a day in the life” of diverse public practice LAs, as well as avenues for obtaining public employment across scales.

    • asla staff May 11, 2016 / 2:43 pm

      Thank you for the feedback, Lauren! We’d love to highlight the work of LAs in public practice more here on The Field, and will work toward doing so. In the meantime, the ongoing series of ‘Policy Shapers’ interviews in LAND highlight the work of LAs in a range of areas of public practice: https://www.asla.org/LAND/Landsearch.aspx?q=Policy%20Shapers

      A 2015 ASLA Online Learning webinar, Paths of Practice: Women in Public Service, also highlighted different career opportunities for LAs: http://www.prolibraries.com/asla/?select=session&sessionID=84

      These are just a start though; public practice is a rich area to be explored – we’ll keep it in mind for future blog posts!

  2. Vanja May 23, 2016 / 11:33 am

    Thank you for taking the initiative to write about careers in LA, I hope it will be as helpful as it sounds. I’m going to finish my undergraduate studies this year, and I still don’t know which way to go after that – the field is so diverse and full of opportunities, it can be really hard to make a decision. In any case, I’d say “awesome” is still the bast way to describe LA
    Best regards from Serbia!

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